It takes a great deal of time and effort to become an amazing leader. In fact, it’s a constant work in progress. Follow the 10 tips below to take your leadership skills to the next level.
1. Know When to Say “I’m Sorry”
No one is perfect — even the boss. Instead of trying to cover up mistakes, come forward and own them. Your team will have a lot more respect for you if you’re humble enough to admit to your shortcomings, rather than trying to hide behind them.
2. Offer Gentle Criticism
It doesn’t feel good to be constantly corrected by your boss, so think twice before voicing your critiques. Of course you’ll need to provide your team with constructive feedback when you notice they’re not properly completing a task, but make sure you’re doing it in a kind and respectful matter.
3. Seek Expert Assistance for Training
You have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to your team, but sometimes you’ll still need to defer to the experts. Don’t try to train your staff in areas that you’re not proficient in yourself. You don’t want to do your employees a disservice by providing them with anything but the best possible learning experience.
4. Get to Know Your Team on a Personal Level
Your employees are members of your staff, but they’re people first. Take the time to learn more about them as individuals. This will both deepen your bond and help you to learn what motivates them. It’s much easier to work with people when you have a mutual understanding of one another.
5. Don’t be a Know-It-All
You don’t have all the answers — no one does. If a team member asks you a question and you’re unsure of how to respond to it, just say so. No one expects you to know everything, so if you need to look elsewhere to find the correct response to an inquiry, there’s absolutely no reason to be embarrassed.
6. Hire for Cultural Fit
The best person on paper isn’t always the right choice for a position on your team. Keep an open mind and hire for potential. It’s much better to choose someone with a little less experience who truly gets your team and wants to be part of your organization for the long-term, than a highly skilled candidate who just wants a job — any job — until something better comes along.
7. Cultivate Relationships with Your Peers
The greatest leaders have a network filled with friends and associates who are always ready to offer support and advice. Don’t trample those who care about you in the pursuit of success.
8. Accept Failure as a Learning Experience
Every project your team works on isn’t going to be a success. Embrace failure and learn from your mistakes. Instead of forcing your team to power through on projects that clearly aren’t working, accept the situation as a misstep and let them move on to their next initiative.
9. Give Credit When It’s Deserved
If you take all the glory for a group effort, your staff will quickly grow to resent you. Always recognize the efforts and individual contributions of your team members, so they feel valued and appreciated.
10. Choose Wisely When Granting Promotions
It’s only natural to want to promote a standout employee as soon as possible, to keep them happy and avoid losing them to your competition. You should definitely recognize great work, but promoting people before they’re ready can backfire. If a person isn’t prepared to handle the added responsibilities associated with a higher level position, you’re inadvertently setting them up to fail. If you do choose to promote them, it may be wise to offer management training or additional resources that can help them succeed.
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